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Born in Civitacampomarano (now Molise), he entered the Neapolitan Army at an early age. In the events of the Neapolitan Republic, he was captured by royalist troops led by Fabrizio Ruffo and exiled to France. Here he fought for the Napoleonic armies both under Joseph Bonaparte and Joachim Murat.
He took part in the Neapolitan Revolution of 1820, and was again sent to exile, this time to Florence.
On February 19, 1826, he duelled with the poet Alphonse de Lamartine, who had compared Italians to "human dust" in his poem "Le Dernier Chant du pélerinage d'Harold". He wounded the French poet in the right arm. In 1836, he returned to Naples where, although aged, he participated in the 1848 riots.
- Je vais chercher ailleurs (pardonne ombre romaine!)
Des hommes, et non pas de la poussière humaine.
(Forgive Roman shade, I'm going to look elsewhere for men, and not for human dust.)